Home is where your spirit is

Letters

HAVE you heard the expression: “Your home is where your heart is”?
Well, the correct way to put it is: “Your home is where your spirit is’’.
Do you know Papua New Guinea started farming thousands of years ago?
Do you know China practised farming about 7,700 years ago?
Civilisation by definition (among other aspects of it), looks at specialisation of labour and domestication of plants and animals.
This places PNG among some of the very early civilised societies of the world.
China had a gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 6.6 per cent in 2018 and US$9,770.85 (K34,591.28) GDP per capita.
I don’t like ‘unrealistic’ comparisons, (in the sense China is a world super power right now) but the common denominator here is “PNG was civilised at around the same time or even before China was”.
Looking at PNG, 2018 GDP growth rate was -0.8 per cent and GDP per capita was US$2,730 (K9,664).
China is worth US$63,827 billion (K226 billion), over 13 times more than PNG’s net worth of K16 billion.
What are the causes of the slow progress and development in PNG?
You may have your own judgement on this and I appreciate that.
But here is my take; there is no spirit in what we Papua New Guineans do.
We only see sustainability and survival and not building, maintenance, sustainability, survival and more importantly progress and some consistency.
There is simply no spirit in what we do.
There are a lot of things our fathers taught us; gardening, raising pigs, fishing, women, marriage, fights and other things.
There are a lot of other things that our fathers taught us but something I want to point out is fighting:

  • YOU don’t stand while your brother is involved in a fight. This is your fight;
  • YOU don’t enter your enemy’s home for retaliation. This is dangerous; and,
  • YOU stand to defend your home/children/wife/properties with your life to prove your manhood.

That means you expect no danger at your home. That is where your spirit is.
That is where you invest your whole life.
Your home defines you.
This is where true building, maintenance, sustainability, survival, progress, consistency and everything about you is.
Would someone leave a private toilet at home unflushed due to low water pressure? No.
But someone might have the tendency to just walk away without flushing the toilet when there’s low water pressure in a public toilet.
Get the point?
Just take a walk over to Gordon Market in Port Moresby and you will experience insecurity, a sense of being an outsider on your very own country.
There is at least some sense of security in places such as Madang, Rabaul, Milne Bay despite the reported crime.
There is feeling of humanity. There is spirit!
Does this affect the development of PNG?
Let us look at the attitude of employees in the public service.
You don’t need to educate illiterates of what ‘7.45am’ is or what ‘4.06pm’ is. We all know work in a public office starts as early as 8am and ends at 4.06pm.
With the general attitude of work attendance, you get to be served well before 11am.
Lunch break ends at after 1.50pm and continues into the corridors.
You don’t do gardening for just one hour and continue break into the early part of the afternoon and go back home.
You don’t throw away your weapons to your enemy to attack you again.
There is no spirit in the work we do, none.
I’m only pointing out the public service but what if every one of us put our spirits into every single work we do?
What if a driver drives with the spirit to serve his people?
You are looking at fewer accidents.
What if a cleaner cleans with the spirit and taking pride in serving his people?
You are really looking very pleasant surroundings.
A father with the spirit to serve sees no ‘mani pinis long bia’ (spent all the money on beer) situations in the family.
In everything we do, we should now start educating Papua New Guineans to take ownership and put their spirits into whatever work they do.
We have to start somewhere.
Where do we start?
We were the first among the few that started farming thousands of years ago and that should give some form of pride and significance as far as civilisation is concerned.
Let us all work together in whatever we do.
Not all of us are meant to be executives in high offices but let us learn to be content what we do.
Let us take pride in serving our people no matter the type of job we do.
We have slow progress because our home no longer have our spirits.
Let us all serve with our spirits.

Joseph Kala
UPNG

2 comments

  • Great statement . Only if we work for the good of our country and defend its values and development like we defend our selves, our families and land, then PNG will have a great future.

    Today everyone is working for themselves and sell themselves and the future of our country.

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